UK joins US and bans TikTok on government phones over security concerns

Britain said on Thursday it would ban TikTok on government phones with immediate effect, a move that follows other Western countries in barring the Chinese-owned video app over security concerns.

TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny due to fears that user data from the app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.

“The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on government devices. The use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review,” Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said in a statement.

The British government had asked the National Cyber Security Centre to look at the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used.

The United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have already banned the app from official devices.

“Restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from our cyber security experts,” Dowden said.

TikTok said it was disappointed with the decision and had already begun taking steps to further protect European user data.

“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

Reuters

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